Convocation: Graham talks university’s future

By: Taylor Fulkerson ~Managing Editor~

President, Fr. Michael Graham, S.J. spoke to faculty, staff and students on Feb. 2. He explained the still-developing Xavier Way initiative, the current budget issues facing Xavier and the university’s plan for tackling the future.
The Xavier Way is an initiative that will be a strategic map, but not plan (which would focus on specific initiatives and their achievement) that guides the university forward for decades to come.

The Board of Trustees approved the plan late last year, noting that the most important measure to strengthen the university is to enhance the sense of mission and identity as a Jesuit institution, not the specifics of how the university proceeds.

The Xavier Way will also “(sharpen) the educational enterprise” at Xavier through a tentatively-titled program called “My Xavier Way,” which will set up a new advising structure for students. The program will also help students to create an overall vision of a college career, including classes, experiences and Fulkersonopportunities.

Graham also acknowledged the “anxiety” surrounding the university budget and the near future. After a looming $8 million shortfall last semester and with the memory of 51 position cuts in summer 2013 still fresh, Graham announced his intent to request that the University Planning and Resource Council (UPRC) suggest a balanced 2016 fiscal year budget that minimizes personnel cuts, including an option “which does not riff a single employee.”

Drawing on his experience interacting with presidents of other Jesuit institutions who have struggled in recent years, Graham also justified the quick rise of innovation as a theme at Xavier.

“It’s not just innovation by itself as the bright, new, shiny toy under the Christmas tree,” Graham said. “What I’m intrigued by is how innovation will interact with those things that have been historically close to us as an institution. I think it’s going to be incredibly impactful for us organizationally and for our students.”

No questions were asked after Graham’s presentation.